Transport Minister Devant Maharaj says there are "flagrant violation" of the very rules set up for the administration of the former PNM government scholarships. Maharaj said that in a statement issued late yesterday. There is an ongoing controversy over the granting of the scholarships under the former Patrick Manning administration. Maharaj had filed a matter for the consideration of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) and in a report submitted to him by the commission, it stated there was discrimination in the awards. Chairman of the EOC Professor John La Guerre said the matter was still being investigated, but it is to be referred for conciliation.
Maharaj also slammed former Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams for her role in the matter. But Yuille-Williams publicly said there was no racial discrimination in the award of scholarships by the former PNM government. Maharaj said yesterday that he rejected Williams' claim that then prime minister Patrick Manning's handwritten note on one of the application for the matter to be handled quietly was ministry protocol, as was claimed by Yuille-Williams. "It seems as if this was the overriding motto for the disbursement of these funds," Maharaj added. "This was a blatant attempt to hide the facts from the glare of public scrutiny."